Second stimulus check: How to track when you'll get your payment

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The $600 stimulus checks that are going out to millions of people can now be individually tracked through the IRS’ “Get My Payment” website, which reopened on Monday afternoon. The site informs people about the date of their payment and whether they will receive it via direct deposit or the mailed payment date.

Still, there are some glitches that are delaying the payments of the stimulus money and creating confusion and questions for consumers. Chief among them: Some people who had their 2020 tax returns filed through tax preparers like H&R Block may have had their stimulus check sent directly to the tax firm, rather than their bank account. 

This echoes a glitch that impacted payment of the first stimulus check for some people who used tax prep services and for whom the IRS didn’t have direct-deposit information. With the second round of stimulus checks, a similar issue may impact some people, with H&R Block warning its customers who used a service called a refund transfer that they might see “an account number you don’t recognize” on the “Get My Payment” website. Refund transfers are offered to allow people to tap their refund to pay their tax prep fees, according to H&R Block. 

As many as 13 million people may experience a delay in receiving their money after the IRS sent the funds to closed or invalid bank accounts, according to tax-prep company Jackson Hewitt. 

H&R Block, TurboTax problems

Intuit’s TurboTax on Tuesday also tweeted that some customers were having problems receiving their stimulus checks. “The IRS announced yesterday that due to the speed at which they issued this second round of payments, they sent some payments to an account that may be closed or no longer active,” the tax-prep service said.

The IRS said checks sent to closed or inactive accounts can’t by law be held by the financial institutions and redirected to consumers. Instead the funds will be returned to the IRS, and people who didn’t receive a check must wait until they file their 2020 tax returns to get the stimulus money in a refund. Because of that, it’s likely that those customers will face a delay. 

Some customers responded on social media that they had panicked after failing to receive their funds as expected, with some expressing concern they had been a victim of fraud. 

Meanwhile, the IRS said on Monday that the direct deposits could take “several days” to post to individual accounts after the official payment day of January 4. It added that some people may see their stimulus checks listed as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts. 

Here’s what to know about tracking your payment. 

How can I get my stimulus check?

The IRS says people will automatically get their payments in the second round of stimulus checks. One way to track the status of your payment is to visit the “Get My Payment” site.

As with the first round, you will need to enter a few pieces of personally identifiable information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and address. The site will then provide you with the status of both your first and second stimulus payments. 

What will “Get My Payment” tell me?

The “Get My Payment” site will inform you about the date of the payment and the method, which the IRS says will either be the mailed payment date or the date of direct deposit to your bank account. Checks sent in the mail will need more processing and mailing time, although the IRS didn’t specify the length of time that will be needed. 

The IRS says it is prioritizing direct deposit payments to people with valid routing and account information. 

Can I change my bank account information?

The IRS says that option isn’t available this time around because the tax agency is issuing the checks based on information it already has on file from the first round of checks. In the first round of checks directed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act), people could enter or correct their bank account information at the “Get My Payment” site.

However, that’s not an option in the second round. “You will not be able to add new routing or account information and cannot request to receive your payment by EIP Card,” the IRS said on December 30. 

What if the IRS sent the check to a closed account?

Because people can’t update their bank account information on the “Get My Payment” site, there’s concern that some checks might be sent to accounts that were recently closed. If that’s the case, the IRS says you’ll have to wait until you file your 2020 tax returns. 

The stimulus checks are actually a tax rebate that can be applied to your annual tax returns — but that means people may be waiting weeks or even months for their stimulus money to show up through their tax refund.

Why is it saying “Payment not available”?

This was a message that frustrated many consumers in the first round of checks, and resulted from a number of issues, such as if the IRS was still verifying whether a person qualified for a check. 

Some people are receiving this message with the second round of stimulus checks, which the IRS says either means the person doesn’t qualify for a check — such as if their income exceeds the eligibility threshold — or the IRS says it was “unable to issue you an EIP 2 payment,” which is the IRS’ term for the second stimulus check. 

The IRS said that it might not be able to issue a second stimulus payment if it is still processing your most recent tax return. 

What if I receive Social Security through the Direct Express debit card?

The IRS says that people who receive government benefits such as Social Security, Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income or Veteran’s Benefits through Direct Express — a debit card that automatically receives payments — will get their second stimulus checks deposited onto that card. 

But the IRS cautioned, “The bank information shown in Get My Payment will be a number associated with your Direct Express card and may be a number you don’t recognize.”

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